Don’t fall for the hype that says that parliament approved Johnson’s deal. It did not. MPs simply voted for it to receive a second reading, some of them motivated by the desire not to endorse it but to amend it. As Labour’s Gloria De Piero confessed, she voted yes, “not because I support the deal but because I don’t”. That 30-vote majority will include MPs who wanted to propose UK membership of a customs union, others keen on conditioning the deal on public support in a confirmatory referendum. Screen out the Tory spin: those MPs should not be counted as backers of the deal.
The most important Parliamentary vote was on the programme motion which attempted to railroad the WAB through Parliament in less than 3 days – and the Government lost that. Now it can be considered and scrutinised properly with time to do so. Thankfully, as Caroline Lucas points out here. This was the important win! The truth is, Johnson will never have a bigger vote for his deal in this House of Commons than the one he assembled on Tuesday. It will only get smaller. No wonder he had to pause. So be of good cheer. We’re up the creek alright, but we still have our paddle and we’re not afraid to use it.